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Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Friendship (Phoenix Fiction)

By Thomas Bernhard

It is 1967, in a Viennese clinic. In separate wards: the narrator named Thomas Bernhard, is with a lung affliction; his good friend Paul, nephew of Ludwig Wittgenstein, is soreness fom one in all his periodic bouts of insanity. Bernhard lines the expansion of an severe friendship among eccentric, obsessive males who percentage a keenness for tune, an odd humorousness, brutal honesty, and a disgust for bourgeois Vienna.

"[Wittgenstein's Nephew is] a meditative fugue for mad, superb voices at the subject matters of loss of life, death-in-life and the artist's and thinker's position in society . . . oddly relocating and humorous on the similar time."—Joseph Coates, Chicago Tribune

"Mr. Bernhard's memoir approximately Paul Wittgenstein is a 'confession and a in charge homage to their friendship; it takes where of the graveside speech he by no means introduced. In its obsessive, stylish rhythms and narrative eloquence, it resembles a sad aria by means of Richard Strauss. . . . it is a memento mori that methods genius.'"—Richard Locke, Wall road Journal

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I'm with no trouble now not a very good individual. I dissociated myself from my pal, like several the others who have been his associates, simply because, like them, i needed to dissociate myself from dying and was once frightened of being introduced nose to nose with it. For every thing approximately my W I T T G E N S T E I N ’S N E P H E W buddy now talked about demise. towards the tip he clearly didn't try and make touch. I needed to get involved with him, yet I did so at longer and longer periods, consistently inventing new and extra pathetic excuses.

His personality appeared to consist in part of the fellow I observed and whilst favorite, and partially of the rumors I had heard approximately him. based on my good friend Paul, Professor Salzer had for a few years been capable of paintings miracles: sufferers who had it appears no probability of survival had long past on residing for many years after he had operated on them, whereas others, so Paul informed me again and again, had died because the results of a surprising unexpected swap within the climate less than a knife grown anxious. Be that because it may well, even if Professor Salzer rather was once an international authority, and while my friend’s uncle, i didn't permit him function on me, accurately simply because he exercised this type of great fascination over me and since his completely common status crammed me with abject terror and made me come to a decision, finally due to what I had heard from my pal Paul approximately his uncle Salzer, in prefer of the helpful senior health care provider from the Waldviertel W I T T G E N S T E I N ’S N E P H E W and opposed to the good authority from Vienna’s First District.

However the day will come while i actually will stopover at Paul, i presumed, and that i made a few notes approximately issues that I meant to debate with him, issues that I have been not able to debate with an individual for therefore many months. at the moment i discovered it conveniently very unlikely, with no Paul, to have any dialog approximately track or philosophy or politics or arithmetic. If my musical pondering grew to become moribund, for example, I had purely to pay Paul a trip that allows you to revive it. T h e negative fellow is locked up within the Ludw ig Pavilion, i assumed, almost certainly even in a straitjacket, whilst he could quite a bit wish to be on the opera.

Evidently not anyone the following has well-known you, i presumed instantaneously, apart from this gentleman. by the point he reached my position all eyes have been mounted on me— and what reproachful, penetrating seems to be they gave me! A n academy that provides me a prize and doesn’t recognize me from Adam, after which sends me reproachful, penetrating seems to be simply because I haven’t made myself recognized, merits to be handled with even better contempt, i presumed. ultimately the gentleman mentioned to me that my right position used to be no longer the place i used to be sitting yet within the entrance row beside the minister, so may I please visit front row and sit down subsequent to her.

I enjoyed the Adriatic— he hated it; and so forth. notwithstanding, we either enjoyed Schopenhauer, in addition to Novalis and Pascal, Velazquez and Goya, and we have been either both repelled through the wild yet totally unartistic El Greco. within the final months of his lifestyles, the Herr Baron was once an insignificant shadow of his former self, as they are saying, and the extra spectral the shadow turned, the extra every body dissociated himself from it. i personally may obviously now not think an analogous approximately P au l’s shadow as I had felt concerning the genuine Paul of prior days.

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